WHat is an orientation year?
Highly skilled migrants from non-EU/EEA countries get the chance to stay in the Netherlands after graduating for up to 12 months to search for work. The orientation year visa (sometimes also called search year visa) is intended for foreign students who have studied in the Netherlands, graduated from a top university outside of the Netherlands or for foreign scientific researchers who have carried out their research in the Netherlands. Finding a job with orientation year visa will become easier for students from non-EU/EEA countries as it comes with many benefits.
Who can apply?
The ‘Orientation year highly educated persons’ residence permit is for graduates or scientific researchers from countries outside of the EU/EEA. You can find out in the following paragraph if you are eligible to apply for the orientation year.
Requirements to apply for orientation year visa
You have to meet the general requirements, which also apply for regular residence permits:
- Valid passport/travel document
- You are no danger to public order or national security: Appendix Antecedents Certificate must be filled in
- TB (tuberculosis test) after arrival: exceptions for certain nationalities, if you have a valid residence permit in the Netherlands and apply for a different one or if you took the test in the Netherlands within the last 6 months
- You held a residence permit in the Netherlands for research purposes or for working as a highly skilled migrant for research.
- You obtained a master’s degree within an Erasmus Mundus Masters Course in the past 3 years
- You completed one of the following studies in the past 3 years:
- bachelor’s or master’s degree programme at a Dutch higher education institution
- post-master’s programme in the Netherlands for at least 10 months
- a study programme in the Netherlands in the context of the Cultural Policy (Special-Purpose Funding) Act or development cooperation policy of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- master’s degree, doctoral programme or post-master’s programme at a designated foreign educational institution.
- A minimum score of 6.0 on the IELTS or another accepted English language test such as Cambridge English, TOEIC or TOEFL
- You did your master’s degree, doctoral programme or post-master’s programme in English or Dutch
How to apply for the orientation year visa?
Applying while living in the Netherlands:
To apply for the orientation year permit, visit the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) website and fill out the orientation year permit application using your DigiD. Make sure to meet the following requirements:
- You are living in the Netherlands
- You graduated, conducted research or obtained a doctorate in the Netherlands.
- You have a valid residence permit for that purpose.
- You have a BSN number.
- You are registered in the Personal Records Database (= Basisregistratie Personen or BRP).
Applying for the orientation year visa from abroad:
First, Check here if you need a provisional residence permit depending on your nationality. Then, make an appointment on the website of the Dutch embassy or consulate in your country of origin or continuous residence (or neighbouring country, if needed). Download the application form with more information.
benefits of the orientation year visa
With the orientation year visa you have free access to the Dutch labour market for one year. Your employer does not need to apply for a work permit. Additionally, employers should be encouraged to hire you as the reduced salary criterion applies once you start working as a highly skilled migrant.
Can I extend the orientation year visa?
No, you have 12 months maximum with no option to extend the Orientation Year visa. If you find a job the employer files for a Highly-skilled migrant visa which allows you to stay in the Netherlands for the duration of your employment. In case you complete a new study, doctoral programme or engage in scientific research after completing your orientation year, you may be eligible to apply for another orientation year visa.